U.S. issues 'exercise increased caution' advisory for its citizens travelling to India

State Department Rolls Out New Travel Advisory Program

State Department Rolls Out New Travel Advisory Program

New Straits Times reported that the US' improved version of the four-level travel advisory programme based its ranking on the security situation in each country.

Under the new rankings, level 1, the lowest advisory, signals a need to "exercise normal precautions" in places where there is no more than the usual risk involved in global travel.

"During an emergency, the U.S. government may be limited in their ability to provide assistance", the Department of State wrote, adding that it advises USA citizens not to travel to such countries or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so.

She added that the travel advisory will be reviewed on a regular basis depending on the rating level of the particular country and circumstances.

Vacation destinations in Mexico such as the state of Baja California Sur, which includes Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, and the state of Quintana Roo, which includes Cancun and Cozumel, are rated Level 2 with cautions to avoid flaunting wealth or while using banking machines.

In the new travel advisory issued Wednesday, India has been ranked Level 2 (exercise increased caution), while countries like Afghanistan have been placed under Level 4, which recommends "Do Not Travel".

"But essentially how we assess the threat level in a country hasn't changed".

Officials insisted the change was to make advice clearer to USA citizens that plan to travel. But five of the country's states - Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas - carry "do not travel" warnings because of violent crime and gang activity, with killings, kidnapping and trafficking in drugs and humans.

Officials in the Kenyan government and the country's tourism industry are likely to welcome the changes initiated by the Trump administration. Canada and Australia are among the countries ranked Level One.

The new advisories supersede all previous travel warnings and alerts.

"We let people know what restrictions we've imposed on ourselves", Bernier-Toth said.

Meanwhile, alerts, such as hurricane warnings, demonstration alerts and other considerations, will continue to be released from the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. "Personally, I was exhausted of explaining the difference between a travel warning and a travel alert, even to some of my colleagues". Turkey, Russia and Venezuela are considered level 3.

"Terrorists have targeted USA diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past, and evidence suggests they continue to do so", says the State Department.

"Sometimes our various documents were not readily understood", Bernier-Toth said.

"We wanted it to be an easier to understand system", Risch said.

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